Creating a ‘brand’ is far more than just creating a logo, otherwise a boutique design and branding agency like us would struggle to justify its skills and expertise. And we’d just spend all day doodling little pictures in notepads. Sometimes we do, but that’s not the point. A ‘brand’ is the visual representation of your business; an all-encompassing image that incorporates every visual element, such as colour schemes, public relations, advertising direction, packaging and social media icons, even the typeface or font that you use is part of the brand.
This all represents how your business operates and how your public sees you, and if you get it right you can gain an immediate competitive advantage, regardless of how your business is structured or set up to compete out there in the jungle. So establishing a strong and memorable brand is perhaps the Holy Grail for a fledgeling business or a new product launch, so let us help you make the impact that every business needs to make.
1. What is unique about your business?
There must be something unique about you, your product or your business. Otherwise, how do you hope to succeed? This could be the key selling point you can base your brand on. The basis of your brand is the name and or the logo, so how can you make it stand out? What is your story? What have you got that no competitor has? This could be your name, where you grew up, a characteristic about yourself, or where the product or service came from.
2. Don’t copy
It is fine to take inspiration from a brand that you have seen, but do not copy it. It won’t work. Use inspiration to open your mind and take that idea in another direction. Quite apart from intellectual property and copyright theft, your market will quite likely see straight through a lame attempt at copying another brand. It’s lazy, it’s cheesy and it could cause irreparable damage to your business.
3. Target Audience
You need to really research your market and build a brand that will appeal to them. See what works and put your unique and individual spin on it. If you are confident your product or service will appeal to a certain market, build your brand on why that is. Your brand therefore might be youthful and full of vibrancy, or it could be classy and chic. If you are satiating a need for a market, make that the centrepiece of your brand. This way you are catching a moment, or a movement, or a culture, and your brand is perfect for this time and place. Fundamentally, if a brand doesn’t reflect its audience, you will struggle to make it work.
4. Get the tone right
Once you have established your target market you need to learn how to communicate to them. If you are talking down to people or trying to sound like you are ‘at one with the kids’ then people will see right through it. Your tone is how you reach out and connect with your market. So are you serious or funny? Are you sassy or traditional? Are you urban or retro? Don’t confuse the tone and don’t pretend to be something you’re not.
5. What is the message?
This is more than just about your personality, it is about what you are trying to achieve with the product or service. You could be trying to promote an ecological breakthrough that could save the planet. Or you could be helping the country get fit. Or eat healthier. Even if you are a legal firm helping everyday people get access to affordable legal advice, this is a great public service, so shout about it. These are perhaps extreme examples, but a strong message works regardless of what your business is doing, and it will help make your brand memorable.
6. Make it visual
A visual brand could be subtle or shouty, as long as it is memorable. There is nothing particularly stunning about some of the most memorable logos in the world, such as Nike, Coca Cola, Amazon or Netflix. They are just simple logos that are memorable because of the overall success of the brand. But they are also memorable because they are visually strong and consistent. So use colours that can be adapted to advertising, social media and packaging and create a theme that is strong.
A professional boutique design and branding agency can help bring all these ideas out for you. Tell them your story and the ideas will flow. An agency will also have access to software tools and design skills that will help to develop your brand, because you shouldn’t be afraid of changing your brand and allowing it to evolve. A strong brand can evolve naturally whilst still retaining what made it strong in the first place, but you also need to have a measure of how successful it is. How do you know your brand is successful, and how do you know when to change it? An agency will be able to help you with this. The hope is that your business will be durable and around forever, so your brand needs to be memorable and strong, but also it should be able to change to reflect success and growth.